As states begin to open up again and the summer heat starts kicking up, an excursion to Alaska to take in the cooler temperatures might be an option. But, because of its location geographically, there are a few things you might need to prep for since it sits next to Canada. This includes any COVID-19 related travel restrictions in place in Alaska.
Alaska has announced a new test-based policy for travelers entering the state. This gives travelers other options to the 14-day self-quarantine that has been required since March. Note that land border crossing restrictions for non-essential purposes between the United States and Canada are in effect until June 22, 2020.
Travel Mandates For Arrivals To Alaska
Until June 05, 2020, both travelers from other states and other countries had to quarantine for 14 days. However, beginning June 06, 2020, all travelers from other states or countries must do the following:
- Complete a traveler declaration form AND
- Arrive with a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within the last 72 hours; all travelers must present results upon arrival OR
- Participate in a COVID-19 PCR test when you arrive in Alaska; travelers must self-quarantine at their own expense until results arrive OR
- Self-quarantine for 14 days at travelers own expense or for the duration of their trip whichever is shorter OR
- Follow the work plan that their employer filed with the State of Alask
The traveler declaration form is asked of all travelers, including residents and workers. Travelers then have several options. If you can get tested (and get results) no more than 72 hours before departing to Alaska and those test results are negative, you can present those results to airport officials.
If you can’t get the test results that quickly but have still tested negatively within five days of departure, you will need to take a second test once you arrive in Alaska.
Similarly, if you are traveling from outside of Alaska and have not been tested, you will be required to take a test once you arrive. You will be asked to self-quarantine until you have negative results. If you test positive, you will have to isolate yourself at your own expense and need to be cleared by a health official before being able to travel.
Since you will have to self-quarantine out of your pocket, prepare for an extended period of not being able to travel.
All pre-tested arrivals and travelers tested upon arrival will be given a voucher for a second test. They must get that second test within 7-14 days of arriving. If anyone refuses to be tested, they will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Business travelers will have to follow the testing and quarantine plan that agreed upon with Alaska.
Alaska residents who have traveled for five or fewer days outside of the state can get tested in Alaska unless they are otherwise required to do so at their destination. They will need to self-quarantine until they get negative results. Alternatively, they can choose to instead self-quarantine for 14 days once they arrive back in Alaska.
Post-Clearance In Alaska
Once you are clear, you are limited to traveling only in communities located on the road system or marine highway system. Only essential travel is allowed for travel to remote communities. Before visiting, check for local restrictions as they may have more requirements.
While many places are open, social distancing, wearing face coverings while in public and avoiding large groups are still encouraged. If you do start to develop symptoms for COVID-19 or get ill, you will need to self-isolate and get tested.